September 26, 2013GROSSE POINTE SHORES — One week after being sentenced to a year’s probation for domestic violence against his wife and rebuked by a judge for having “control issues,” Councilman Dan Schulte badgered his lone female colleague at the Tuesday, Sept. 17, council meeting.
It happened during a reprised discussion of the Shores switching jurisdictions from Wayne County to Macomb County.
Councilwoman Kay Felt mentioned renewed interest in the topic during her monthly summary of activities by the Ambassador Committee, which she chairs.
“A (committee) member raised the issue,” Felt said. “We’re going to have (the city attorney) review what would be required and the likely prospects (of leaving Wayne County). We’ll go back to citizens for input on that.”
Schulte, de facto chair of the now-disbanded Move to Macomb Committee, responded by criticizing Felt for writing in an e-mail that trying to change counties was a “fool’s errand.”
“My purpose in saying that —,” Felt started to say.
“— Because you weren’t doing it,” Schulte interrupted, characterizing Felt as jealous of the Macomb committee, on which she didn’t serve.
“No, that’s not why I said that,” Felt said, trying to explain. “Wayne County has to agree to let us go —.”
“— I’m aware of that, Ms. Felt,” Schulte interrupted, more upset. “I’m keenly aware of all of that.”
“Excuse me,” Felt said. “You challenged me on my memo. I get to respond.”
She explained the anticipated futility of spending municipal funds in a campaign to sway Wayne County voters to let a cash cow like the Shores shift its tax dollars elsewhere.
“We sat down with (Wayne County Commissioner) Tim Killeen and he said, ‘We’ll fight you all the way,’” Felt said. “That’s why I said it was a fool’s errand. I don’t know why you want to get inside my head.”
Schulte claimed the city could avoid a county-wide vote and achieve realignment through court action.
In July, Schulte failed to win council backing for a municipal advisory referendum on changing counties.
The Macomb Committee had been tasked with reporting the pros and cons of the city becoming part of Macomb County, plus the probability of Wayne County voters allowing it to do so.
“When I made the motion to go the next step in the move to Macomb County, I didn’t get a second,” Schulte said at this month’s meeting. “Nobody on this council even wanted to second the motion at that time.”
Part of the council’s inaction in July resulted from criticism of Schulte’s Macomb report.
The 23-page report consisted largely of downloaded county web pages, cut-and-paste population and geographical data.
Council reaction to the report at the time included:
“We need to get more facts,” said Councilman Robert Barrette.
“We just don’t seem to have facts,” Felt echoed.
“Is there an advisory body we can appeal to that can assist us in this?” said Councilman Dr. Alexander Ajlouni. “I feel like we’re trying to operate a motor vehicle without getting a license first.”
Schulte left the Sept. 17 meeting without responding substantially to questions.
He didn’t respond after the meeting to e-mail and voice mail requests for an interview.
After the meeting, Felt, although taken aback by Schulte’s accusation of jealousy, put things in perspective.
“I generally try to know what I’m talking about before I say something,” she said.